Friday, August 30, 2013

Tomorrow morning two things are happening at the Gilbreath house.  The first is that we're going to continue our tradition of getting breakfast at either McDonald's or Chick Fil A and watching Game Day on ESPN.  The second is that we're transitioning Ladybug's bed from crib to toddler bed.  The latter is just another of many transitions that have taken and will be taking place in Ladybug's life recently.

When she turned 18 months old, a few weeks ago, all of her pacifiers and bottles disappeared.  We haven't mentioned them, and she hasn't really missed them much.  She promoted out of the Bed Babies class at church and is now very happy to be with the 1 year olds.  She doesn't cry for us anymore, and actually doesn't want to leave when we come to pick her up after Sunday school.

In preparing her for a toddler bed, I ordered her a full set of toddler sheets from Pottery Barn Kids and took the bumper off of her bed.  She also started sleeping with a pillow recently during a teething-induced cold.  Since she has in the past, I assumed she would miss her crib bumper, but she hasn't.  Instead, she just insists on sleeping with both of her Cabbage Patch babies, Lambie and Lady (she's been sleeping with them since she was still in a swaddling blanket), and her stuffed Lucy and Dory.  She also insists on pulling her flat sheet all the way up, then her lambie blanket, then her pink quilted blanket that my Aunt Tammy got her when she was born.  She especially insists on that pink blanket.  Heaven help us if/when that poor thing falls apart.

I'm really excited about the toddler bed.  I think she's ready to be a big girl.  Also, I'm curious to see if she'll be able to forgo stuffed Lucy and Dory if one of the real ones decides to sleep with her.  In all honesty, I'm far more excited about the toddler bed than I am watching Game Day and football tomorrow.  If you know me, you know that just isn't the norm; or at least it hasn't always been.

I guess we all continue to go through transitions in our lives.  I wasn't particularly over-excited about the football season last year either.  I accounted it to Landry Jones still being behind center at Oklahoma and the whole John L. disaster for Arkansas then.  Now...  well, I have a few ideas.

First of all, after years spent working at a television station and enjoying all of the hype around football season, I'm completely removed from that, physically and emotionally.  I don't listen to news or sports talk radio during lunches anymore.  I rarely watch the news at all, because with Facebook, Twitter, and mobile news apps, I don't have to.  My friends do an excellent job posting stories online these days, and as a busy mom I take full advantage of learning the news in my time.  Due to that, football, football, football isn't being drilled into my head constantly anymore.

It's kind of like how Christmas has changed for me as I've grown older.  I still love it, but when I'm not completely immersed in it, I feel a little less excited.  There isn't a marching band going pitter-patter in my heart constantly, keeping the cadence of my pulse.  Though I'm curious and little excited to see Oklahoma's new quarterback and Arkansas's new everything this year,  I'm much more thrilled to watch Ladybug learn her alphabet and how to count.  Instead of that marching band in my heart, the VeggieTales crew is singing "Down In My Heart."

Now honestly, by October when the real rankings come, I may be singing a different tune.  I can't say that I'm not at all interested in college football, because I am.  Its ranking in my priorities has just dropped like it was beat in the season opener by ULM (razorback fans should totally get that).

The next transition after the bed???  Potty training.  Stay tuned.

A Letter to Ladybug Regarding Miley Cyrus

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Ladybug,

You don't know this, but social media and other media blew up Sunday night and Monday after a (sort of) celebrity gave what can only be described  as a vulgar, raunchy, and completely inappropriate performance.  While most of the rest of the world is appalled by this show, the celebrity in question seems proud of what she did and the attention it has garnered her.  To her right now, this has lifted her back from relative obscurity into the popular celebrity stratosphere once again.

Most of us, at one time or another, would love to be popular in some form or fashion.  The temptation and addictiveness of popularity can often lead people to do things that they really shouldn't.  In the short-term, they might get what they want.   However, in the long-term, they will be losing far more than they will gain.  There's a reason why they call it "fifteen minutes of fame."  You see, it lasts about that long, in the grand scheme of things and is very hollow and unfulfilling.

Most everyone wants to be known.  Most everyone likes to see their name mentioned, but why is their name being mentioned?  For what have they gained this popularity?   Are they popular for doing something stupid, for being vulgar, for shocking people?  Quite honestly, are they known for their sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, or orgies?  Or, are they known for  being loving, their joy, peace, patience, their kindness, goodness, gentleness, or by all means, self-control?

Why, oh why would anyone want to be known for any of the former?  Isn't it better to be known for any and all of the latter?  I pray you are known for the latter, my dear sweet daughter, because to be known for any of the former would mean that though you may have gained popularity, but you have lost something far more important:  respect.  Better you first respect yourself and earn the respect of others for being good and true and modest, something that can last a lifetime and honestly longer, than to do something shocking or vulgar in order to see and hear your named mentioned.

You are beautiful.  You are extremely intelligent.  You are funny.  You bring joy to the lives of all those who know you.  You never, ever need to pull some stunt like what was on television the other night in order to prove anything.  Conquer the world with your intelligence, with your love, and your goodness.  Never allow yourself to be so insecure in anything to think that such a display is worthwhile.  Be secure in your faith, and the rest will fall into place.

Lastly Ladybug, I love you.  You are enough for me without the popularity of the world.  I leave you with these verses to remember:

Galatians 5:19-21
English Standard Version (ESV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a]drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22-23
English Standard Version (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

~ Last week we were particularly social.  It was wonderful, and I enjoyed it.  However, I must admit to you that after being "out" so much last week, I have very much enjoyed spending most of this week holed up in my little introvert's paradise.  Bart is in Oklahoma City until late Friday or possibly even Saturday, so I'm having a little "me" time when L is sleeping and the chores complete.

~ That said, I need a new book to read.  I recently started reading some of Philippa Gregory's Cousin's War books.  They're.... ok.  They are definitely not Shakespeare, and I am a little too accustomed to his take on the Wars of the Roses.  Still, I must find something new to read soon or else I'll start trolling the web for some sort of Jane Austen fan fiction trash complete with Mary Sue's and plot lines that have been recycled so often they are now cliche'.  Too late, for I am knee-deep in one that is not too bad.  The author must have a love of actual book, "Pride and Prejudice" and not just Colin Firth in a wet shirt.

~ I love how Ladybug believes both of the baby gates are to keep the dogs in or out of rooms.  She is almost obsessive about making sure the gates are always closed.  

~ I noticed when I bought groceries today that Walmart has started selling mums.  I should probably automatically take an Allegra and Sudafed every day for a while now.

~ I think that the Lifetime Network tries very hard to put the most repulsive people in America on reality tv.  Double Divas seriously troubles me.  I may have to take a moment.

~ Ladybug has become a fan of Ring Around the Rosie.  Occasionally her "Ashes, ashes!" sounds like she forgot the "h."  Personally, I have minor discomfort teaching her a rhyme about dying from the Black Plague.

~ Today I purchased Star Trek Into Darkness on iTunes without having seen it.  I plan to finally enjoy it with my husband when he comes home this weekend.

~ Sometimes I wonder if I'm raising a little girl or a deranged monkey.

~ Then other times I wonder how something so sweet can be mine.

~ Mostly, I'm just thankful these two are in my life.

~ Oh, and these two as well.

Train Up a Child

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"At what age—and how—did you introduce religion to your kids?"
I saw this question on my Facebook newsfeed posted by a popular and respected parenting magazine a few days ago.  With it came an overabundance of emotions within me.  At first I laughed at what, to me, seemed like a ridiculous question.  After all, my religion isn't just some elective part of my life that I can choose to share with my daughter when she's older.  Then I realized that is exactly what it is to many, ever so many people today.  In fact a popular thought among parents is to not expose impose any certain belief system upon a child until that child is able to choose whether or not he or she wishes to take part in it.  My question is, if you're not exposing your child to what you believe, what are you exposing them to?  How does one parent without exposing their children to their beliefs?  I guess my last question is, is it possible to not expose your children to your beliefs because you lack a solid foundation of beliefs yourself, and / or don't put them into practice?

First of all, to answer the initial question posed by the parenting magazine:  I prayed for my child before she was ever conceived.  I prayed that she would be conceived at all, that once she was conceived she would be delivered healthy at full term, and I haven't gone a day without praying for her!  I believe in having my child in church every opportunity I can have her there.  I believe in reading the Bible and her Jesus Storybook Bible to her regularly.  I believe in letting her sing songs about Jesus, Noah, Zacchaeus, and others from the Bible.  I love that she loves VeggieTales.  God isn't just religion in our house.  We have a relationship with him.  He is our Heavenly Father.  Jesus wasn't a good man or prophet, he is our living, risen savior.

I thank God every day for the solid foundation I have in my relationship with him.  I don't agree with a lot of the things my mother did in raising me.  I am very thankful that she took me to church at an early age, and that it was never a discussion of "if" we were going to church on Sundays, but it was a discussion when we didn't.

I have lived through some very dark, very difficult times in my life.  I am thankful that throughout each of these times, I have never been without that foundation of Christ in my life.  It has been the only thing that has carried me through the most difficult of times.  When friends and family have failed my, Jesus never has.  I feel the blessed assurance of the Holy Spirit within me in the happiest and most trying of times.

So, why wouldn't I want to share this with my child from Day One?  Why wouldn't I want to share this with everyone and shout it from the rooftops?  I certainly want my child to be raised with a solid, firm foundation so that when she's older I won't have to worry about her falling for just anything when she will inevitably be searching for something to believe.

What are your thoughts on this?

The Moment

Friday, August 9, 2013

I like to take pictures.  No, strike that.  Bart and I both love to take pictures.  We like it so much that we both have our own DSLR's, because we often want to take pictures of the same thing at the same time. For three of my past four birthdays, I have been given a pretty new lens by Bart so that we can both use it.  I think that we have both taken some very nice pictures over the years.  Lately though I've found myself wanting to put away the camera.  Why?

A few weeks ago I posted about how Bart, Ladybug, and I went to the Firefly Fling at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks with some of our friends.  I posted about how beautiful it was and how Ladybug loved dancing to the live music and was awed by the Chinese lanterns.  When discussing the evening  with Bart though, he admitted that he hadn't realized that Ladybug even liked the lanterns, because he was busy trying to get good photos of the lanterns as they were released.  I had been afraid of that and told him that was why I had started to put my camera down sometimes, because you can be so busy trying to capture the moment that you miss it entirely.

A few days after that discussion with Bart, I was talking it over again with my friend Dana as our kids played together.  She mentioned that she and her sister mentioned that their dad probably remembers their childhood from the viewfinder of a camera.  We both agreed that part of being a parent is learning when to put the camera down and participate in the moment, rather than trying to capture it.  The memory is far dearer than even a photograph.

As a blogger, pictures tell half of the story.  Blog posts are better with pictures.  I think most of us are wired to seek out photo ops for blog posts.  I know that I often plan outings with the family with future posts and pictures already ruminating in my mind.  Though this blog is an extension of me, it isn't me.  I don't want it to look like our family had a wonderful time making memories.  I want to actually have a wonderful time making memories with my family.  Yes, I still take plenty of photos with my DSLR and my iPhone, but I want Ladybug to remember me doing things with her and not just the way I look from behind the camera.  I'm a mom first and a wannabe amateur photographer second or third or even last.

Do you sometimes find yourself so busy taking pictures or video that you actually miss the moment you want to capture?

What We've Learned In 17 & 18 Months

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today dear Ladybug, you are eighteen months old. I didn't post an update on you last month, because I decided that I would combine 17 and 18 months and that until you are two years old, this is likely the last monthly update I will make.  You are anything but a little baby anymore.  In fact, your pacifiers have all disappeared this week.  You are such a big girl, and seem to be thriving in the bigger kids' class at church.    You were sort of promoted a couple of weeks ago.  Thankfully, you seem to be getting over your saran wrap issues a little bit too.  Let me tell you a little more about you:

  • You love your babydolls.  You have made Dory's bed into your babydolls' bed and spend a lot of time there taking care of them.
  • You seem to almost skip when running now.  
  • I have started putting you in slip-on diapers, because it's easier with your busy little legs.  Also, they seem to fit better now that you're running al over creation.  In the next couple of months we will start trying to use a potty, because you are such a big girl!
  • You have the cutest, funniest little dances you do when listening to music you love.
  • You have started to change your taste in music.  Rather than hip hop from the nineties, you are enjoying more indie and adult contemporary music.  Your favorite song to sing now is "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" by She and Him.
  • You are a very picky eater at meals.
  • You know several colors, your letters up to "E," and can count to 10 with a little prodding.
  • You have started playing with Hot Wheels cars.
  • You love wearing pretty clothes and having your hair fixed.  That said, you rarely leave bows in your hair for long.

  • You love swimming and seem to be a natural.
  • Your vocabulary grows by leaps and bounds every week.
  • You caught your first fish!
  • You are a blessing, and I'm so very thankful you're in my life.

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Gale! A Birthday Memory

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ok, so we don't know Dory's exact birthdate.  The person who dumped her and her chocolate-colored sister on the side of that Kansas road almost four years ago when they were little puppies didn't bother to leave that information on them.  The rescue we adopted her from that October estimated her age at 10-12 weeks, and she was just a bit bigger than her cousin Apache (Uncle Boone & Aunt Jessica's Lab) when they came to visit from Colorado a couple of weeks later.  So, we did a bit of math and decided to give her a birthday of August 1, an easy date to remember if you don't have to take the birthday girl in for emergency surgery.

First Birthday In the Cone of Shame
We planned to make a big deal about her first birthday like we did when Lucy turned 1.  However, sometimes circumstances change plans.  Dory was quite the chewer during her first year.  She chewed part of our staircase, a foot of our coat rack, and completely killed a maple tree by stripping every inch of bark off of it.  She even chewed up a black gum tree we had planted.  Bart cut the black gum tree back, hoping it would live, but Dory still chewed on it.  Unfortunately the tree bit her back, but she didn't let anyone know.

I don't really remember why the girls were so hyper that Friday night.  I assume it's probably because Bart and I went out to either shop or do something enjoyable (I sort of remember those days) after work.  Whatever the reason, when we let them out to potty before bedtime that night, they ran around the back yard like crazy doing their WWE fake wrestling, butt tucks, and having the zoomies.

The next morning they seemed fairly normal, but Dory seemed a little slower than normal.  She spent a lot of time laying on the tile in the hallway, which wasn't ordinary for her.  Then I noticed it.  There was blood in different spots on the tile.  I yelled to wake Bart, and we had to figure out which of our girls was injured.  We quickly ruled out Lucy, because she always lets us know when she's injured and milks the attention for everything it's worth.  We searched all over Dory and almost didn't find the injury, because her fur is so thick.  There was an injury though, a puncture wound in her thigh that was pretty deep.

Most Saturdays, our vet's office is open until noon.  This particular Saturday it wasn't.  So we loaded her into the car and drove to the Animal Emergency Clinic of Northwest Arkansas, a place we have visited a few times with accident-prone Lucy.

It was no slight puncture wound.  Dory ended up having minor surgery to clean the wound, then had internal stitched and external staples.  The procedure took so long that we were told to go home, and they would call us when Dory was ready to be picked up.  She was given antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, pain killers, and a cone.  That poor baby had to wear a cone for two weeks, and it was her birthday!

If you've never had a dog in a cone, let me tell you, it's no picnic.  First it's just pathetic watching them learn to navigate in them.  You have to learn to check it for things like poop after they've been outside, because they inadvertently use them as shovels when sniffing the ground.  Then, with some dogs like Dory, they start chasing you with the cone, bruising your legs.

Thankfully Dory's thigh made a complete recovery, and so did the bruises on our legs!  It's three years later, and Dory so far hasn't had to make another trip to the ER.  We're celebrating her fourth birthday today.  She's getting a new squeaky Kong football and a new collar and leash.  We love you Dory Gale!

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